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The Hadassah Lady

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Ann Cohen
This story takes place in New York City, on the Upper West Side, sometime in the early 1950's. I was about 11 years old, coming home from a piano lesson, and I found myself on the wrong bus after sundown. I wanted to go downtown, but I had boarded the uptown bus. Panicked, I signaled for the bus to stop, and jumped off.

I looked into mywallet for bus fare, then broke into tears when I saw that I had nomoney. I felt totally helpless - doomed to never get home.

At thatmoment, a small gray-haired lady came over to me and asked in a very kind voice what was wrong. I wanted to answer, but fear of TheStranger took over and I stood silent, shaking my head and brushingaway tears. The diminutive Stranger spoke - "You are right not totell me your name - your mother probably told you not to talk tostrangers, and she was right." I nodded my head, fear subsiding.

Without another word, she took out her purse and gave me bus fare,"and a dime to call home to say why you are late." Then, with a warmsmile, she added reassuringly - "Tell your mother that a Hadassahlady helped you out. She will know then that you were never in danger."

A lifetime later, I smile now in gratitude for that woman who reachedout to me so naturally - never guessing then that I would be aHadassah lady myself one day.

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